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Special Event

Millennium 2000: Only Minor Y2K Glitches Reported; Government Prepared to Declares Success Over Y2K Bug

Aired January 2, 2000 - 8:02 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Computer experts warn Y2K problems, though, could pop up over the coming days as more and more systems come back online after the holidays and after the weekend. But so far, so good. Still, there have been a handful of Y2K incidents to look at.

And for the latest Y2K news, let's go now to CNN's Kathleen Koch. She's at the National Y2K Center in Washington.

Good morning, Kathleen.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Leon.

Well, some glitches that you may have heard about were very minor. For instance, at Colorado's Y2K center on New Year's Eve, it flashed the date as 1936, instead of 2000, and the Web site for the Punksatoni (ph) Groundhog Club said that there were 397 days before Punksatoni Bill emerged from his burrow instead of just 32.

More serious were some minor systems-support functions that did malfunction at seven nuclear power plants. Those have all been fixed. And the Pentagon lost a spy satellite system for several hours, but officials here say the fact that, on the whole, things have gone very well doesn't mean that Y2K wasn't a real problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KOSKINEN, PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON Y2K: The financial institutions and the telecommunications industry and others are very clear that if the work had not been done, there systems would simply have not functioned. And you know, in many ways, it's as simple as that. Although as we've said all along, in telecommunications, for instance, it was always clear that the dial tone would continue. The question is whether over time the systems would operate.

So we think that there is no doubt that the problem was significant and important.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOCH: Things are already getting back to normal in the skies. Airlines are operating full schedules, and they're expecting a very busy travel day as the holiday weekend wraps up. Now the real test, though, comes tomorrow, when millions of people around the world go into work and switch on their computers. Experts say only then will we really know if the Y2K bug has actually been squashed or only pounces when the pressure is on.

Reporting live at the Information Coordination Center, I'm Kathleen Koch.

COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, throughout the past couple of years, the Pentagon routinely ranked at or near the bottom of federal agencies in dealing with Y2K, so it now seems incredible that the Defense Department has reported almost no computer problems related to the year 2000. But there has been some glitches, as CNN military affairs correspondent Jamie McIntyre explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For about two hours Friday night, several U.S. spy satellites were blinded by a Y2K computer failure on the ground, until a slower backup system was pressed into serviced.

JOHN HAMRE, DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY: The backup mode is full acceptable in terms of meeting our high-priority reconnaissance requirements. That's in place. It was only for a matter of a few hours when we were not able to process information. We are now.

MCINTYRE: Officials say the lone glitch in the satellite link had no affect on operations at the joint U.S.-Russian Y2K Monitoring Center in Colorado, where early-warning radars and other satellites kept watch for errant missile launches and other threats.

The rest of the U.S. military's 2,100 critical computer systems worked just fine, and Pentagon officials are cautiously preparing to declare victory over the Y2K computer bug if the trends holds through Monday, when office systems are booted up.

HAMRE: There may be some problems there that we don't know about now. I don't expect any, but there may be.

MCINTYRE: The Pentagon says it found no Y2K viruses in its computers and that fewer hackers than usual tried to penetrate its networks, in part because some systems were taken off-line as a precaution.

(on camera): The Pentagon insists the $3.6 billion it spent to exterminate the Y2K computer bug was money well spent, and that the few bugs it missed amounted to an annoyance for than anything else, like for instance, a cash register in Okinawa that refused to process receipts.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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